La Russa 'great move' for White Sox manager, Stewart says originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Chicago White Sox naming Tony La Russa as their manager for the 2021 season turned out to be more of a controversial hire than anything. Many speculated the 76-year-old wouldn’t be able to handle an up-and-coming team that has tons of young talent that made the playoffs last season.
However, former A’s pitcher and current NBC Sports California analyst Dave Stewart, who played for La Russa in Oakland and knows the manager well, said he likes the fit.
“I think that it’s a great move, I really do,” Stewart said Friday on KNBR's "Papa & Lund." “I think that Tony has a way of putting the finishing touches on a team. He’s a man of detail, that’s for sure. So, small things that make winning teams, it’s doing the little things and preparing to do the little things that win baseball games.”
“When you look at, ‘How do you get them to the finish line,’ I think Tony fits the bill. I think he’s the guy that can get them there,” Stewart added.
Stewart, whom La Russa hired as the Arizona Diamondbacks' general manager in 2014 when La Russa ran the franchise's front office, was asked if he was approached by the Hall of Fame manager about possibly joining the coaching staff.
“Tony and I had a hypothetical conversation some weeks back and he had asked me if I would consider being a pitching coach, who would be the guys that I would do the job for? I told him, Bob Melvin, if asked, I would do it. Dusty Baker if asked, I would do it -- and I told him if he was ever to get back in the arena, I would do it, but like I said, that’s been probably three weeks ago, maybe a month.”
Stewart said perhaps then La Russa knew he would head to the White Sox, or at least was in the running for the managerial responsibilities.
“But to this point, I have not had any conversations about coming with him to Chicago as part of his coaching staff.”
As far as La Russa not being able to handle the bat flips of White Sox star shortstop Tim Anderson, Stewart told NBC Sports Chicago that he would be fine handling that as well. Remember, La Russa once managed Rickey Henderson, who exuded swag, and Stewart said it would be a similar situation.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but Stewart makes some good points here.